Here’s my lasting outing (for now at least) on the theme of contextualization.
‘Subversive fulfilment’ is an idea expounded by Dan Strange. Dan summarises the relationship between Christianity and non-Christian religions as follows: ‘non-Christians religions are essentially an idolatrous refashioning of divine revelation, which are antithetical and yet parasitic on Christian truth, and of which the gospel of Jesus Christ is the ‘subversive fulfilment’”. Non-Christians have knowledge of God, but they respond with suppression and exchange (Romans 1:17–32). The extent of this suppression varies in depth and expression. This means other religions contain truth (because of general revelation and common grace), but they twist and distort that truth. So there is both ‘principle discontinuity’ and ‘practical continuity’ between Christianity and other religions. So the gospel both confronts alternative religious worldviews and offers appealing answers to the questions that other religions cannot themselves answer (‘subversive fulfilment’).
The idea of ‘subversive fulfilment’ is a really helpful way to think about a culture:
- What the hopes, desires, longings in the culture?
- In what ways are they are distorted version of right hopes and right desires and right longings?
- It will show you what repentance means for people, but also what good news means for people.